Chamonix, the most famous ski town in France
, is unlike any other, normal, European winter resort. The main reason is that its valley stretches for almost 10 miles and all the ski areas are spread along it, so none of the trails actually drop directly into the town. This wonderfully picturesque area lies in the shadow of Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc. The weather is very changeable and can go from sunny skies to snow storm in mere hours.
Accommodation in Chamonix is diverse. Tourists can choose from the many hotels, chalets, apartments, gites, bed & breakfasts or campsites. There is something for everybody in the Chamonix Valley, may they be looking for a pretty hamlet, small village or a cosmopolitan town.
As the world’s best expert and advanced skiing destination, Chamonix offers spectacular opportunities. There is a multitude of various slopes suitable for skiers of all levels, and every ski area has its own advantages. Snow riders, mountain lovers and winter enthusiasts simply can’t run out of possibilities—beginners slopes, remarkably long tracks, extreme skiing, skiing through trees, free-ride or off-piste—they are practically infinite.
There are two different cross country skiing areas, gentle pistes connecting Chamonix with the village of Les Bois or the quiet pine forests in Argentière further up the valley. If the snow conditions permit it, these two areas are linked by the village of Le Lavancher. Those trying cross country skiing for the first time are advised to begin on the easier trails. But, the greatest danger to visitors is the one of actually becoming addicted to the lovely slopes in Chamonix.
To be able to fully enjoy Chamonix, one needs a car or a bus to get to the all the slopes along the valley. Only two of the areas are connected. Some of the lift lines are long, particularly the Grand Montet one. The shuttle bus service from the centre of Chamonix to the outer areas is quite erratic, the buses are crowded and sometimes slow, but they eventually arrive. Some of the hotels provide their own buses for their guests. The Chamonix Valley is the location for many world famous events, such as the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc, the Khandadhar alpine ski competition, the Nissan Outdoor Games.
In addition to the major sports events, the local businesses, hotels, the Chamonix town hall and the tourist partners of Chamonix also organize a growing number of different activities, performances and shows. This makes Chamonix busy during the whole year, not just in the winter months.
As it is located in the Alps, Chamonix has a powerful alpine flair. There aren’t any ultra-modern structures like in other French winter resorts. As a small town, it is quite cosy, with plenty of comfortable hotels, local restaurants and narrow streets with many shops. Tourists can enjoy the local ambiance while sitting at a café in a small square and sipping kir, wine or beer. The bars are full of people from all around the world, people who enjoy skiing and the challenge and exhilaration that Chamonix offers. But, the atmosphere is captivating enough to make one forget about skiing for a while.